President Hồ Chí Minh's bust in front of the National Library of Sri Lanka in Colombo, a symbol of Sri Lankan people's' respect to President Hồ. -- Photo courtesy of the embassy
Ambassador Walpita Gamage Sampath Prasanna sends a message to Việt Nam News readers to celebrate 50th anniversary of friendship between Việt Nam and Sri Lanka.
Today, July 21, Sri Lanka and Việt Nam commemorate the 50th anniversary of their establishment of formal diplomatic relations. Although only officially founded in 1970, Sri Lanka and Việt Nam’s deep-rooted relationship spans several centuries.
Notably, during these years, the founder of modern Việt Nam, the late President Hồ Chí Minh, paid numerous visits to Sri Lanka, in 1911, 1928 and 1946, on his way to Europe. President Hồ was warmly welcomed by a nation that became one of the first to support Việt Nam in its struggle against French and US occupation, acting as a staunch ally.
Together, Sri Lanka and Việt Nam enjoy amicable ties in bilateral, regional and multilateral diplomacy equally. Co-operation between the two countries extends to wider areas of politics, trade, investment and economics, defence, culture, education, tourism, agriculture etc. In addition, the Sri Lanka – Việt Nam Parliamentary Friendship Group maintains tight-knit cordial relations between the Parliament of Sri Lanka and the National Assembly of Việt Nam. This robust relationship is also marked by high-level visits undertaken by leaders of both countries.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka and Việt Nam share close trade relations, with the trade balance in favour of Việt Nam over the years. The total trade volume of 2019 was US$381 million where Sri Lanka imported goods/services worth $302 million from Việt Nam and exported goods/services worth $79 million to Việt Nam.
With regard to investment, leading Sri Lankan apparel industry companies, such as Hidramani Group and MAS Holdings, have established factories in Hà Nội, HCM City and Đà Nẵng. These factories have employed more than 10,000 Vietnamese citizens. Sri Lankan cosmetics and perfumes producer, Nature’s Secret, also has a footprint in Việt Nam.
President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa, while conveying his warmest greetings and felicitations on this important milestone to his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyễn Phú Trọng, Party General Secretary and President of Việt Nam, recalled the rich history of relations between the two countries, rooted in mutual trust, friendship and respect. President Rajapaksa also congratulated Việt Nam on its leadership of ASEAN as the Chair for 2020, non-permanent membership at the UN Security Council for the term 2020-21 and effective control of the nation’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Extending his compliments to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa recognised the shared values, deep sincerity and continuous reciprocity that have existed between the two countries through generations of leaders and peoples. Prime Minister Rajapaksa congratulated Việt Nam on its tremendous achievements under the guidance of the Communist Party during the last 90 years.
Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka, also commended his Việt Nam counterpart, Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, on this important milestone. Minister Gunawardena recalled the remarkable achievements of both countries during the last 50 years, giving prominence to Việt Nam’s productive contributions in regional and multilateral fora. He stated that although the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the two countries from celebrating this momentous landmark, he is confident that plans will be made to hold appropriate celebratory events in the year ahead.
Sri Lankan leaders also extended invitations to their Vietnamese counterparts to visit Sri Lanka during the celebratory year. — VNS